Changes & Modifications

Our boat is ideal for us and the manner in which we like to cruise as well as to be docked for 5 months during the warm and often sticky northeast summer.  Ideal does not mean perfect and same as most boat owners, we’ve spent time and effort on modifications to make life more pleasant on Ortolan our Maine Cat 41.

If you are another Maine Cat owner or potential owner and want to see what we’ve done- you’ve come to right place. Just curious as to how we’ve spent so much of our time- especially during Summer 2011- check photos and info below:

Garbage hinged cover

Sometimes it’s the little things that make life easier!  After a few months of struggling with the large one-piece garbage lid, I decided to simply cut 1/3 of it & install a hinge.  Now it’s easy to flip the smaller opening to toss garbage, or still remove the entire lid for large items.



Punching holes in the Hypalon for the lines to pass thru.

Once glued in place, the Hypalon "boot" keeps the water from squirting thru.

Once glued in place, the Hypalon “boot” keeps the water from squirting thru.

One of the annoying features of the all-around Strataglass were the occasional waves which would come up across the bow & find any exposed gaps, squirting sea water into the cockpit.  We had previously sewn on Sunbrella flaps over the zippered areas of the enclosure which dealt with the zippers, but sea water squirting thru the holes for the control lines remained a problem.  Coming across some scrap Hypalon dinghy repair fabric gave me an idea.  I removed the control lines, marked the hole locations & punched holes 1/16″ smaller than each line size (a complete set of leather hole punches purchased on e-Bay for $11 w/shipping).  Lastly, I used Hypalon adhesive & glued each boot in place.  The lines are snug in their holes keeping out 99% of the water.

Sunbrella flaps covering zippers.

Sunbrella flaps covering zippers.


Void in the Core-Cell coring at a hatch opening

This photo shows one of the 10 hatches removed.  Clearly visible is no sealing of the Core-Cell coring material, a gap in the coring & visible wetness.  Technically, Core-Cell coring doesn’t absorb water, but obviously unfilled gaps & micro kerfs can.

Cutting back the Core-Cell prior to filling with solid epoxy

Not a fun job, but all 10 hatches had to be removed, cleaned of silicone sealant, the coring removed past the screw line, filled with solid West System epoxy, the edges ground flush & the hatches re-installed.  No more leaks!



Bilge Pump Hose Looping

All 4 bilge pumps were originally installed with check valves to prevent backflowing into the bilge.  Good – in theory.  In reality the water in the hose still drained back, plus we were having a problem with waves splashing sea water into the thruhull, down the hose & into the bilge – the opposite of what is supposed to happen!  Check valves can also jam, which could cause the boat to sink!

A new, longer, stronger hose without the check valve but with an added loop & a straight thruhull takes care of that.  Some of the pumped bilge water will still drain back in, but it did anyway.  While the longer, higher hose may impede the flow somewhat, the lack of a check valve & the now straight thruhull more than makes up for it.

Speaking of straight thruhulls versus 90 degree thruhulls, the A/C discharges also had 90 degree thruhulls, which reduce water flow by more than 30%.  So in addition to the engine compartment bilge pumps, I installed straight thruhulls for the 2 A/C discharges as well – the difference in the un-disturbed flow is very noticeable.


Added Vent – exterior view

When you’re storing all of your waste, the cockpit can get a little smelly, especially when a huge 3,000 watt power inverter is mounted very near the waste tank!  To help considerably, I added a Beckson C-7 vent outside of the cockpit powered by a 12 volt “pancake” fan, similar to what is used in desktop computers.  It runs 24/7 using only a tiny amount of power.  Its location acts like a chimney venting out the heat of the power inverter & smell of the holding tank.  It works quite well, although you sometimes get a station wagon effect of the smell coming back into the cockpit.If installing, you can obtain the same model Beckson plastic cowling vent as used for the engine compartments.  Locate a spot to drill very carefully, drilling a small 1/8″ test hole first.  You can buy the “pancake” fans on-line for only a few dollars – use the 80mm size, then you’ll have to Dremel/file the corners of the plastic unit, making it round, to fit snuggly into the vent hole.

The other imperative modification is to cover or block off the starboard aft line locker – it’s a direct outlet for the smells from the holding tank.  For the first summer, I simply made a removable “door” from foam board & Velcro to close off the opening, with a notch for the lines to come thru.  When sailing, I would pull it off.  As a more permanent solution, while adding storage space, I just finished building interior partitions in the line locker, similar to the port line locker.  I made it wider & deeper than the port one, so the lines & “extra stuff” can be stored & now the lines don’t drop down into the large locker getting tangling up.


Fruit & Liquor Storage

The back corner of the galley counter seemed a little too empty, so we made a fruit & veggie holder for the wall & a liquor storage rack for the counter.  The fruit & veggie holder was made with leftover Textilene & the liquor storage rack made from cherry, to match the trim.

2 thoughts on “Changes & Modifications

  1. Thanks for all the blog info. I am looking at the maine cat 41. Our plan is an Atlantic circle with 2 long summers in the med( home for winter) and then Caribbean. Any hesitation about your “open bridgedeck” cat for a longer passage or other boat issues you wish you had thought about


    • Hi Bill,
      what a fantastic plan. A MC41 in the Med would be awesome. No hesitation about our openness at all, especially since we have pretty much stopped all the water at the front seams and line holes as you saw. Tabby Cat traveled to New Zealand recently and you might check that blog if you haven’t found it already. We’ll email you soon with other thoughts and ideas as we gather them. Great to hear from you- the cat crew Lori & Russ


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